Child development center expanding

October 29, 2010 Latest Print Print

Yasmin Shirali/Pioneer
Active kids staying fit at OCCC’s Child Development Center and Lab School (CDCLS) by playing outside. The CDCLS is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 5:45 pm. CDCLS

More children could enroll in the college’s Child Development Center and Lab School next semester after the center moves into larger quarters over the holiday break, said center Director Mary McCoy.

In a speech to journalism students in October, McCoy said enrollment could go from 75 children to more than 100 when the center relocates to OCCC’s Family and Community Education Center just a mile north of campus in what used to be the John Glen Elementary School.


Enrollment is now open for the day and evening child care programs, McCoy said. Students who need to schedule day or evening care for their children will find many more openings at the reduced student rate of $5 for each three-hour slot.

There are five student-scheduled slots each day: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.; 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.; 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Student-parents pay an additional $3 during the noon and evening mealtime, to provide lunch or supper for the children.

After many months of delay, McCoy said, the center plans to open its new doors Jan. 6.

The new facility will offer a large advancement for the Child Development Center’s well developed curriculum, benefiting both children as well as students, McCoy said.

It will include an art room that will offer children a better space designated for arts and crafts.

The FACE Center also will be equipped with security measures for the children’s safety, including a security office within the building, McCoy said.

The children’s playground area will be spacious, McCoy said.

“We would also like to implement an herb garden in the future as well.”

At its current location, the Child Development Center and Lab School has a garden area where the children help grow the flowers, fruits and vegetables, McCoy said. There are also seating areas within the garden for the children.

She believes the new location will provide the same kind of space.

Child Development majors will find improvements in the new location, McCoy said. Several additional classrooms will be available as well as a lab room for college students’ special projects and a model classroom that will be used as a learning environment for child development students.

The students are not the only ones preparing for the big move.

The Child Development teachers and staff also are preparing.

“They are excited and nervous,” McCoy said.

“Being in such a small facility, we have always been able to walk out into the hall and see everything.

With all the new space we will have, it will be different to walk down a long hall to see everything.”

But they are making every effort to be ready for all the changes, including reading “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change” together as a staff.

The book covers the psychological planning for change in organizational structure, job design, systems and processes. McCoy said this will give them the base needed not only to make the change to the new facility for themselves, but also to have a foundation to help the children make the transition as well.

The nationally accredited Child Development Center and Lab School has been open since the mid ’70s.

The student-scheduled evening child services began in 2008 with one child. The program grew rapidly to the point of having a waiting list, McCoy said. This semester 47 three-hour slots are scheduled in the evening, although one child may stay for two slots, or more.

“This is not a daycare,” she said, pointing to their curriculum for the children.

Taking a lead from the early child development theorists, a lot of the center’s programs are based on ideas from Piaget, Vygotsky and Dewey, McCoy said.

The staff works to provide a positive atmosphere for children, she said.

Topics are teacher guided but child directed, McCoy said, meaning activities are built around a child’s interest in a particular topic, from dinosaurs to mittens. Each project is explored in depth with the children.

For more information and enrollment, contact the Child Development Center and Lab School at 405-682-7561.

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